September 10, 2018 12:15 pm
Updated: September 10, 2018 5:30 pm

Carbon tax court challenge and economic supercluster announcements on New Brunswick campaign trail

WATCH: With only two weeks until election day, most of the province's parties focused on the topic of the province's carbon tax while the New Brunswick Liberals announced a plan for the development of economic superclusters. Todd Veinotte has more.

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The New Brunswick election saw the Tories touch on the issue of a federal carbon tax while the Liberals announced a new economic initiative.

PC Leader Blaine Higgs says New Brunswickers can’t afford to pay 12 cents more a litre at the pumps, or more for necessities like heat and groceries.

Higgs says he’s committed to joining other provinces, including Saskatchewan and Ontario, to stop the federal carbon tax through a court challenge.

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He says if Liberal Leader Brian Gallant was really serious about fighting the carbon tax, he would do the same.

READ MORE: All our New Brunswick election 2018 coverage

Gallant has proposed redirecting a portion of existing gas taxes to a climate fund, but the federal government has yet to say if they’d approve it.

Higgs says leadership means standing up for the province, even if it means standing up to the prime minister.

Green Leader David Coon said that the obssessive bickering between the two parties over the carbon tax is a distraction from the urgent actions needed to address climate change.

Coon says immediate action is needed to reduce carbon pollution.

Campaigning in Fredericton for the upcoming provincial election, Coon released a list of action items he says a Green government would take.

They include new limits on greenhouse gases for large polluters, a requirement for NB Power to provide 50 per cent of electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar, and stronger protection for forests and wetlands.

Coon says climate change requires strong leadership, not rhetoric.

Meanwhile in Fredericton, Gallant says that if his party is re-elected, the Liberals will help create at least three economic “superclusters” in the province.

Gallant made the announcement in Fredericton, saying there is already a supercluster for the growing cybersecurity sector.

He says the government will work with partners in academia, the private sector and non-profits to grow the economy.

Gallant says developing superclusters will help create jobs and increase productivity.

He says other superclusters could be formed around maple syrup, blueberries or cannabis.

Gallant did not have the cost for the promise, but says some of the money could come from existing programs such as the strategic infrastructure initiative. New Brunswick’s Progressive Conservative leader says that if he’s elected premier, his government will introduce a carbon plan, not a carbon tax.

NDP releases platform

NDP Leader Jennifer McKenzie released her parties full campaign platform saying it represents the values of her party and the people of the province.

The party is promising a $15-per-hour minimum wage, public home care and more affordable post-secondary education.

Campaigning in Saint John, McKenzie said the platform should send a clear message to New Brunswickers that her party is listening to them.

She said the full platform of promises would cost $766 million, but generate revenues of $723 million – resulting in a deficit of $43 million in 2019-2020.

The NDP have not had a member in the New Brunswick legislature since 2005.

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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